Ida Ma has enjoyed singing since childhood. She went on to build numerous business ventures including her own travel agency, a delightful cafe, and now in real estate as a seasoned broker. Although she did not pursue singing professionally, she still relishes in performing, having sung in places of worship, celebration, and remembrance. It gives her no greater pleasure than to bring joy through music.
SUZ Takeda (Writer/Performing Artist) has been involved in the Bay Area theater scene since 1991. SUZ has performed as a solo performer, an actress with Asian American Theater Company, and as her live cabaret act “Ginger Hashimoto” –a Las Vegas lounge diva singer via Tokyo, Japan. SUZ is a recipient of Asian American Arts Foundation –AT&T Theater Grant, The City of Oakland Cultural Arts for Individual Artists, and a CASH Grant from Theatre Bay Area in partnership with Dancer’s Group. She was also a finalist in “15 More Minutes of Fem” in Hollywood, Calif.
Photo by Leon Sun
Francis Wong is a long time composer/instrumentalist and community worker rooted in Asian American consciousness movements of the 1970s to today. In addition to deep engagement in historic local communities, he has traveled and performed nationally and internationally. His work is well documented in audio recordings, documentary film, and academic literature. For more information visit https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Wong.
Shoko Hikage began playing koto at the age of three. Her first teacher was Chizuga Kimura of the Ikuta-ryu Sokyoku Seigen Kai in Akita Prefecture, Japan. From 1985, she received special training from the 2nd and 3rd IEMOTO Seiga Adachi (hereditary head master of the Ikuta-ryu Sokyoku Seigen Kai). In 1988, Hikage graduated from Takasaki College with a major in koto music. She was then accepted as a special research student (uchideshi) in Sawai Sokyoku In (Sawai Koto Institute) under Tadao and Kazue Sawai, where she received her master’s certificate (kyoshi). Hikage also completed a one-year intensive seminar at the Sawai Sokyoku In. In 1992, she moved to Honolulu, Hawaii to teach koto at the Sawai Koto Kai Hawaii (Sawai Koto Institute Hawaii branch) and at the University of Hawaii. There she held her first American solo recital at the Honolulu Academy of Arts Theatre as part of the New Music Across America Series. In 1997, she moved to San Francisco where she continues her concert and teaching activities. Hikage premiered Hyo-shin Na’s “Crazy Horse” for Korean Traditional Orchestra and Koto Solo with the National Orchestra of Traditional Instruments in Seoul, Korea in November, 2011. In 2014, Hikage gave a solo recital with a program devoted to Hyo-shin Na’s music for koto/bass koto at Buam Arts Hall in Seoul, Korea. In 2017, Hikage organized historic concerts “Hengenjizai World of Koto Music” featuring two koto virtuosos, Soju Nosaka and Kazue Sawai (with Hogaku Journal and Hengenjizai Concert of the San Francisco Executive Committee). Concert was supported by Arts Council Tokyo, and performed at Herbst Theater in San Francisco.
Shoko Hikage is a member of Wooden Fish Ensemble and Koto ensemble Lantana. She always has been interested in collaborating with musicians and artists of other genres, has worked with Anthony Brown’s Asian America Orchestra, Brenda Aoki – storyteller, Kenny Endo – Taiko, Mark Izu – bass and Japanese Sho, Judith Kajiwara – Butoh dance, Hiroshi Kashiwagi – poet/playwright, Hyo-shin Na – composer, Tokyo Nammy – vocalist, Trinth Minh-Ha – filmmaker and more. Hikage was a member of Natto Quartet (Philip Gelb – shakuhachi, Tim Perkins – electronics and Chris Brown – electronics/piano), Ghost Dance Trio (Pauline Oliveros – accordion and Toyoji Tomita – trombone) and Koto Phase (Mitsuki Dazai, Ryuko Mizutani, Masayo Ishigure, Curtis Patterson and Jeff Wichmann)
In San Francisco bay-area, Hikage gives lectures and performances at the universities; San Francisco Conservatory of Music, University of San Francisco, City College of San Francisco, UC Berkeley, Hartnell College, Mills College and Stanford University. Hikage taught a 12 weeks course about Koto music at the University of California, Berkeley under Professor Bonnie Wade from 2013-2015. Hikage participated in the San Francisco Symphony’s Adventures In Music program, with “S. S. Pacific Queen” led by Charlie Chin (In 2006) and “Mark Izu and friends” (In 2013)
Photo by Hien Huynh
Lenora Lee is the Artistic Director of Lenora Lee Dance (LLD), and has been an Artist Fellow at the de Young Museum, a Djerassi Resident Artist, a Visiting Scholar at New York University through the Asian/Pacific/American Institute, an Artist in Residence at Dance Mission Theater, and a 2019 United States Artists Fellow. In 2020, she was awarded a Creative Work Fund grant, a California Arts Council California Creative Communities grant, and a Kenneth Rainin Foundation Open Spaces grant for And the Community Will Rise, a performance and collaboration with the Chinatown Community Development Center and Asian Improv aRts. In 2021, the New England Foundation for the Arts awarded LLD with a National Dance Project Production Grant for Convergent Waves, a site-responsive, multimedia experience in Boston, which will go on tour to SF, NYC, and LA. Convergent Waves received support from the National Endowment of the Arts through the Pao Arts Center. Lenora is also currently Project Manager for Asian Improv aRts.